Is this the least expensive phone plan?

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Silence Dogood
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Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Silence Dogood »

This is how I set up my phone plan. I believe this is the least expensive plan that I could possibly come up with.

The first step is to set up a Google Voice account. If you already have an account with Google then you can just use that one, but I would recommend setting up a separate account dedicated to your Google Voice number. Google Voice is free for all calls within the United States and Canada.

Once you set up your Google Voice account, the next step is to purchase an OBi100 VoIP Telephone Adapter and Voice Service Bridge. This device will allow you to use your regular home phone to make and receive Google Voice calls. It has a very high customer review rating on Amazon (4.8 out of 5 stars with 885 reviews) and only costs $39.99.

The next part has to do with setting up the mobile phone for when you're not home.

The key here is to only give out the Google Voice number. All calls to the Google Voice number will be forwarded to the mobile phone.

The next step is to purchase a cell phone from TracFone. It is best to purchase one that includes triples minutes for life. 1,500 minutes costs $199.99, but with triple minutes it will be 4,500 minutes. It’s also a good idea to check for promotional codes to pick up some extra free minutes whenever you're purchasing more minutes. There is no need to keep your cell phone on when you're home because when people call your cell phone they'll be using the same number as your home phone.

What do you think of this plan? Any suggestions for improvement?
kitteh
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by kitteh »

I would think more of this plan if google had a text explanation of it instead of requiring a prospective user to listen to infinite videos to understand it.
TheGreyingDuke
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by TheGreyingDuke »

I am trying to figure out how best to use Google Voice as well, although my motivation is wantig to keep the same number even when I disconnect cell service during my months long overseas trips each year. In my case, I seek to port my cell phone number to google voice and when in the US forward the calls from Google to the cell.

I am unclear about your plan... if the google voice (GV) number is the device you mentioned then calls will go to it. If you want our cell phone to ring when that number is called, you need to have the GV calls forwarded, then when you are at home and want the home device to ring, you need to cancel the forwarding,do I have that right?
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Silence Dogood
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Silence Dogood »

TheGreyingDuke wrote:I am unclear about your plan... if the google voice (GV) number is the device you mentioned then calls will go to it. If you want our cell phone to ring when that number is called, you need to have the GV calls forwarded, then when you are at home and want the home device to ring, you need to cancel the forwarding,do I have that right?
There is no need to cancel the call forwarding. When you are home, both your cell phone and home phone will ring. The point is to just pick up with your regular home phone (connected to the OBi device) so you won't use up the prepaid minutes on your cell phone. That's why I suggest just leaving the cell phone off when you're home. You won't miss any calls because all calls will be to the same number and you won't be using up any of your prepaid minutes.

Does this make sense now?
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Silence Dogood
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Silence Dogood »

TheGreyingDuke wrote:I am trying to figure out how best to use Google Voice as well, although my motivation is wantig to keep the same number even when I disconnect cell service during my months long overseas trips each year. In my case, I seek to port my cell phone number to google voice and when in the US forward the calls from Google to the cell.
This plan should work. I believe Google Voice charges a one time fee of $10 to port a number.
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Toons
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Toons »

Here is my set up:
I use google voice for home phone(send and receive) calls,computer stays on all the time,when I get a call I put on Platnronics wireless headset(paid 55.00 several years ago) so that I am untethered from computer free to roam around.

When I leave the house,calls are forwarded to My StraighTalk phone (30 dollar a month plan-1000text 1000minutes talk 30mb web) :happy
Talk about 50 minutes a month,99% of communication is via text,email :happy
Last edited by Toons on Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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William4u
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by William4u »

Silence Dogood wrote:The key here is to only give out the Google Voice number. All calls to the Google Voice number will be forwarded to the mobile phone.

The next step is to purchase a cell phone from TracFone. It is best to purchase one that includes triples minutes for life. 1,500 minutes costs $199.99, but with triple minutes it will be 4,500 minutes. It’s also a good idea to check for promotional codes to pick up some extra free minutes whenever you're purchasing more minutes. There is no need to keep your cell phone on when you're home because when people call your cell phone they'll be using the same number as your home phone.
We do pretty much the same thing (Obi 100), except we use tmobile pay-as-you-go as our cell phone at about 9 cents per minute. Works fine.
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Silence Dogood
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Silence Dogood »

William4u wrote:
Silence Dogood wrote:The key here is to only give out the Google Voice number. All calls to the Google Voice number will be forwarded to the mobile phone.

The next step is to purchase a cell phone from TracFone. It is best to purchase one that includes triples minutes for life. 1,500 minutes costs $199.99, but with triple minutes it will be 4,500 minutes. It’s also a good idea to check for promotional codes to pick up some extra free minutes whenever you're purchasing more minutes. There is no need to keep your cell phone on when you're home because when people call your cell phone they'll be using the same number as your home phone.
We do pretty much the same thing (Obi 100), except we use tmobile pay-as-you-go as our cell phone at about 9 cents per minute. Works fine.
Great to see the plan already in action!

Do you have Google Voice forward calls to your cell phone?

Any reason you chose t-mobile for the pay-as-you-go plan? Are you satisfied with this service?

What do you think of the call quality using the OBi device?
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by jeffyscott »

Silence Dogood wrote:What do you think of this plan? Any suggestions for improvement?
Depending on how you use it, there may be even cheaper options than tracfone. For example, my wife has t-mobile and it was $100 for the first year but $10 per year after that with minimal use. My kids who text more, find tracfone to be a better deal as they charge texts at 30% of the per minute call rate, while most other services charge 100%.

I think my son has something like this set up for himself and is happy with it. Initially the sound quality seemed very poor, but it turned out that the real problem was apparently the phone he had, after getting a different phone for his home it was fine.

I'm planning to do the 2-step process to port our home phone number to google, but don't need or want to tie this to cell phones, since there are 2-3 people in the household.
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Silence Dogood
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Silence Dogood »

Toons wrote:Here is my set up:
I use google voice for home phone(send and receive) calls,computer stays on all the time,when I get a call I put on Platnronics wireless headset(paid 55.00 several years ago) so that I am untethered from computer free to roam around.

When I leave the house,calls are forwarded to My StraighTalk phone (30 dollar a month plan) :happy
This is a very similar plan. Personally, I would rather just pay $40 for the OBi device and use a regular phone instead of always having to keep the computer on. But to each his own. Glad it's working out for you!
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William4u
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by William4u »

Silence Dogood wrote:
William4u wrote:
Silence Dogood wrote:The key here is to only give out the Google Voice number. All calls to the Google Voice number will be forwarded to the mobile phone.

The next step is to purchase a cell phone from TracFone. It is best to purchase one that includes triples minutes for life. 1,500 minutes costs $199.99, but with triple minutes it will be 4,500 minutes. It’s also a good idea to check for promotional codes to pick up some extra free minutes whenever you're purchasing more minutes. There is no need to keep your cell phone on when you're home because when people call your cell phone they'll be using the same number as your home phone.
We do pretty much the same thing (Obi 100), except we use tmobile pay-as-you-go as our cell phone at about 9 cents per minute. Works fine.
Great to see the plan already in action!

Do you have Google Voice forward calls to your cell phone?

Any reason you chose t-mobile for the pay-as-you-go plan? Are you satisfied with this service?

What do you think of the call quality using the OBi device?
Yes, GV forwards to the cell phones. The obi 100 allows one to have TWO Google Voice numbers (with two ring tones). So my wife and I each have one GV number, but they both ring the home phones (with distinctive rings for his and her).

We did tmobile because it was cheaper than the competition years ago. Tmobile works well, but maybe tracfone is better (I haven't compared the two). We use callingmart.com for refills, which is cheaper than using tmobile.com (and in some cases tracfone.com, apparently). I suspect tracfone is fine.

The call quality of the Obi 100 is great. It is just like a regular land line. E911 costs a few dollars a month for the obi 100, or you can just program the 911 call centers 7 digit number.
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Silence Dogood
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Silence Dogood »

jeffyscott wrote:
Silence Dogood wrote:What do you think of this plan? Any suggestions for improvement?
Depending on how you use it, there may be even cheaper options than tracfone. For example, my wife has t-mobile and it was $100 for the first year but $10 per year after that with minimal use. My kids who text more, find tracfone to be a better deal as they charge texts at 30% of the per minute call rate, while most other services charge 100%.
What I like about TracFone is: the ability to carry over minutes.
What is the maximum number of days that my Service End Date can be extended?

There are no limits! Get what you pay for with our Improved Carry Over benefit. Only with TracFone, the minutes and service days you add to your TracFone will be added to the minutes and service days you already have.
sscritic
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by sscritic »

Silence Dogood wrote:
jeffyscott wrote: Depending on how you use it, there may be even cheaper options than tracfone. For example, my wife has t-mobile and it was $100 for the first year but $10 per year after that with minimal use.
What I like about TracFone is: the ability to carry over minutes.
And how does this differ from t-mobile? Are you saying t-mobile minutes don't carry over?
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Toons
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Toons »

Silence Dogood wrote:
Toons wrote:Here is my set up:
I use google voice for home phone(send and receive) calls,computer stays on all the time,when I get a call I put on Platnronics wireless headset(paid 55.00 several years ago) so that I am untethered from computer free to roam around.

When I leave the house,calls are forwarded to My StraighTalk phone (30 dollar a month plan) :happy
This is a very similar plan. Personally, I would rather just pay $40 for the OBi device and use a regular phone instead of always having to keep the computer on. But to each his own. Glad it's working out for you!
Since I am using a computer quite frequently I discovered a couple advantages,for me that is ,to using a headphones.

1.Outside noise is blocked completely,
2.Phone call going to both ears ,able to better concentrate and focus on call.
2.Hands free,am able to accomplish other tasks while on phone(headset),computing business etc.
Really works out well when I am "on hold" with someone, 10 minutes the other day waiting
for Vanguard rep.I was able to pay some bills online,do a little fund research,walk to another room to accomplish a few tasks while being "hands free",whereupon the Vanguard Rep picked up my call and I politely responded "Give me a minute while I get back to my computer",presenting my questions
to them as I was walking back to the computer :happy

Just personal preference,glad your setup is working for you :happy
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Silence Dogood
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Silence Dogood »

William4u wrote:Yes, GV forwards to the cell phones. The obi 100 allows one to have TWO Google Voice numbers (with two ring tones). So my wife and I each have one GV number, but they both ring the home phones (with distinctive rings for his and her).
Very cool!
William4u wrote:E911 costs a few dollars a month for the obi 100, or you can just program the 911 call centers 7 digit number.
My plan is to program the OBi to automatically call my local police department's non-emergency number. As soon as that number is dialed, the automated answer machine says, "If this is an emergency, press 0 now." I have already tested this out (without actually pressing 0). It will take slightly (approximately 10 seconds) longer than normal.
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by jeffyscott »

T-mobile minutes, or $, do carry over if you buy 1000 minutes for $100 one time. The rate will increase if you are a minimal user.

Our initial $100 was 1000 minutes, good for 1 year. After a year the balance was $85, added $10 (but this was only 30 minutes)...so we then had $95 but 880 minutes. Then after another year added another $10, etc.
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jeffyscott
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by jeffyscott »

William4u wrote:E911 costs a few dollars a month for the obi 100
I did not know this was even an option. How do you go about setting this up and does this mean the 911 operator will automatically get your address?
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Silence Dogood
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Silence Dogood »

sscritic wrote:
Silence Dogood wrote:
jeffyscott wrote: Depending on how you use it, there may be even cheaper options than tracfone. For example, my wife has t-mobile and it was $100 for the first year but $10 per year after that with minimal use.
What I like about TracFone is: the ability to carry over minutes.
And how does this differ from t-mobile? Are you saying t-mobile minutes don't carry over?
T-Mobile minutes also carry over.

The difference is, T-Mobile appears to be more expensive (cost per minute) than TracFone.

With TracFone you pay $199.99 for $4,500 minutes. That's about 4.4 cents per call. Add in the free promotional minutes and it's even cheaper.
Last edited by Silence Dogood on Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
ieee488
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by ieee488 »

Silence Dogood wrote:
sscritic wrote:
Silence Dogood wrote:
jeffyscott wrote: Depending on how you use it, there may be even cheaper options than tracfone. For example, my wife has t-mobile and it was $100 for the first year but $10 per year after that with minimal use.
What I like about TracFone is: the ability to carry over minutes.
And how does this differ from t-mobile? Are you saying t-mobile minutes don't carry over?
T-Mobile minutes also carry over.

The difference is, T-Mobile appears to be more expensive (cost per minute) than TracFone.

With TracFone you pay $199.99 for $4,500 minutes. That's about 4.4 cents per call. Add in the free promotional minutes and it's cheaper.
I don't see $199.99 for 4500 minutes on Tracfone's website.
I see $199.99 for 1500 minutes. https://www.tracfone.com/direct/Purchas ... NE&lang=en
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Silence Dogood
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Silence Dogood »

ieee488 wrote:I don't see $199.99 for 4500 minutes on Tracfone's website.
I see $199.99 for 1500 minutes. https://www.tracfone.com/direct/Purchas ... NE&lang=en
That's why you purchase a phone with "triple minutes for life" (see my original post).
TracFone wrote:This means that every paid Airtime Minute you add to this phone will be tripled. For example, Add a 60 minute Airtime Card and get 180 minutes.
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Silence Dogood »

jeffyscott wrote:T-mobile minutes, or $, do carry over if you buy 1000 minutes for $100 one time. The rate will increase if you are a minimal user.

Our initial $100 was 1000 minutes, good for 1 year. After a year the balance was $85, added $10 (but this was only 30 minutes)...so we then had $95 but 880 minutes. Then after another year added another $10, etc.
1,000 minutes for $100 is 10 cents per minute. More than double the 4.4 cents per minute (not including free promotional minutes) with TracFone.
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by ieee488 »

Seems like every phone has triple minutes for life.
What's the catch?
Why not have $199.99 for 4500 minutes?

It looks like Tracfone is better if you use a lot of minutes.

With T-mobile, you pay $110 to get 2 years of service.
In JeffreyScott's case, he paid $100 first year for 1000 minutes and then $10 (30 minutes) in year #2 which rolls over all the minutes from the previous year.
So, he has 850 minutes left over from year #1 and 30 minutes from the new purchase for a total of 880 minutes.
Just by paying $10, he gets service for the entire year #2.

With Tracfone, he would pay $199.99 for 4500 minutes for 365 days then $99.99 for 1200 minutes(?) to be able to get service for another year.
That is how I read it.
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Silence Dogood
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Silence Dogood »

ieee488 wrote:With Tracfone, he would pay $199.99 for 4500 minutes for 365 days then $99.99 for 1200 minutes(?) to be able to get service for another year.
That is how I read it.
Yes, basically. But remember, the minutes and service days you add to your TracFone will be added to the minutes and service days you already have. Don't forget to use the promotional codes I mentioned earlier.

Edit: You can get that same 1,200 minutes and additional year for $84.99 via Amazon.
Last edited by Silence Dogood on Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ieee488
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by ieee488 »

Silence Dogood wrote:
ieee488 wrote:With Tracfone, he would pay $199.99 for 4500 minutes for 365 days then $99.99 for 1200 minutes(?) to be able to get service for another year.
That is how I read it.
Yes, basically. But remember, the minutes and service days you add to your TracFone will be added to the minutes and service days you already have. Don't forget to use the promotional codes I mentioned earlier.
Thanks for the clarification.

It looks like T-mobile is still best for my mom. She barely uses any of her minutes, so for $199.99 that she would pay to Tracfone for only one year, she can get 6 years of service with T-mobile.
Caveat being, not alot of minutes.

Even for me, T-mobile still works out to be better. I pay $200 and get two years of service with 2000 minutes. Not as many minutes as with Tracfone, but I don't use 1000 minutes a year.
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by jeffyscott »

Yes, I think that is correct that tracfone is generally cheaper, if you use the minutes. Though at some point, one of the package deals with a flat monthly fee can become cheaper, but I think those are generally at least $30 per month.

For us the minutes don't really matter, it is about the cost per month. With tracfone the cheapest option, per month of service, is $20 for 3 month...$6.66 per month. With T-mobile, my wife is coming up to her third renewal, so $100 + $10 +$10 +$10 for 4 years or $2.70 per month. For myself, I have Boost for $10 every 3 months, so $3.33 per month and due to lack of use have built up about a $50 balance over 2.5+ years.

We had tracfone for a long time, at the time we switched had about 1200 "units" built up, gave the phone to my daughter who used up the excess over a fairly sort time period.
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sscritic
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by sscritic »

What's your number? If you have saved 1 million rollover minutes, can you retire?
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by tfb »

Silence Dogood wrote:What do you think of this plan? Any suggestions for improvement?
No it's not the least expensive plan. When you have Google Voice forward all incoming calls to home or work numbers, you won't use that many minutes. As jeffyscott pointed out, the cost is really $$ per year to keep the number going. Calculate that number and compare Tracphone, T-mobile, Page Plus etc.
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ieee488
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by ieee488 »

Another thing to consider is convenience.
My mom likes only have to renew once a year with T-mobile.
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by William4u »

Tmobile requires that you spend about $100 once for the first year, and then $10 each year after than to keep the minutes rolling over. So $100 in year 1, and $10 in year 2, 3, 4, etc.

E911 DOES give the operator your address. There is much discussion about different E911 services and configurations on the Obi forums...

http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=4270.0
http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=4271.0

And obi 100 has a nice speed dial, which allows instant ringing of a phone number by just pressing one number on the keypad and #. I can have all my family and friend's phones ringing within 1 second of picking up the phone.
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Silence Dogood »

sscritic wrote:What's your number? If you have saved 1 million rollover minutes, can you retire?
It depends on your withdrawal rate.
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Re: Is this the least expensive phone plan?

Post by Silence Dogood »

I just want to clarify this one point, whether or not you use Trac-Phone, T-Mobile, or some other prepaid phone plan is not the most significant aspect of this plan. Some people will be better off with T-Mobile, others with Trac-Phone. The basic idea is using Google Voice at home (work, etc.) along with the prepaid mobile phone.

Although I use my cell phone less than my peers, I am in my early 20s and have a girlfriend - I'm sure I'll be using the minutes.
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